What’s So Bad About A Binky?

My positive attitude has nearly run out. I’ve managed to keep believing this would work, but each time we have a good night it’s followed by a crap one.

I am nearing the end of the Sleep Lady Shuffle and Jack has yet to sleep through the night. When I say sleep through the night I mean sleep from bed time to wake up time. There was only one night, night number 5, that I count as successful. He woke up just as I was going to bed at 10:50pm and fell asleep again by 11:33pm. He didn’t wake up again until 8am. That is the only night this has happened. He wakes up at least four times a night, one night he woke up as many as eight times. I have tried hard to stay positive, which as a generally non-positive person is really hard for me. I have given him stickers, wet myself with happiness when he has had small success, showered him with praises and followed the rules of the shuffle fairly well. The problem is I don’t think it’s helping.

I know it takes time, I know each kid is different. I know kids are only human and have good days and bad days. The books says that kids get ritualized easily, but Jack does not seem to be getting ritualized. The book talks a lot about sleep crutches, being sung, rocked, walked, patted to sleep. I wonder if the Shuffle has given him a new crutch, needing me to come calm him and shush him every time he wakes, because Jack didn’t have any of those other issues. We had a bedtime routine, he had a regular bed time and nap time. He was sleeping well at night. The only thing he had to have at bed time was his binky. Now that it’s gone I’m wondering what the heck was so bad about it?

I know, teeth growing in all crooked, but he didn’t even have it all night long, it would fall out of his mouth. He didn’t get it at any other time of day, only when he was sleeping. What’s so frustrating is that he used to be such a great kid! He’s not the devil incarnate or anything now, he’s just so tired. I’m not saying he was a perfect angel before, he is a three year old after all. All I’m saying is he used to be more well rested and because of that he was easier to deal with. He had fewer tantrums and could calm down quicker when he started to loose his temper.
Now he’s so overtired that he freaks out over the smallest thing. He has a harder time listening to me and a harder time following instructions. I know he understands what I tell him, but he just can’t calm down enough to do what he’s told. The binky helped him sleep which made him more able to focus, listen and learn. So I ask again what’s so bad about a binky?

When his doctor said get rid of the binky, I just assumed that she knew best. But does she really? She’s an excellent doctor to be sure, but she sees Jack once a year for a maximum of 20 minutes. Her knowledge of Jack doesn’t go beyond his behavior in the exam room and what I talk to her about. Now that I really think about it, I wonder if his doctor should be followed blindly on this issue. I believe that was my first mistake, assuming that the  doctor knew what was best for my child. We’re told on a regular basis we know our kids best, but when our doctor says jump we’re supposed to just do it without thought? Without taking a look at our lifestyle and what would benefit our kids?

A toddler’s life is full of change, potty training, new beds, new friends, and sometimes preschool. Our life has also been full of moving and vacations away from mom. But he’s never had this reaction to change before. He embraced potty training almost from the beginning. I think he thought it was a game and the fact that he got candy was an added bonus. He was excited about his new bed, and even picked it out. Sure it took a couple days for him to get used to sleeping in it, but it wasn’t too hard.

But the binky has been a different story completely. I think that taking the binky away so abruptly was a mistake. I probably should have talked about getting rid of the binky for longer than a week. But I think the biggest issue is that he simply wasn’t ready to give it up. With potty training and with his big boy bed he was excited and eager. Saying goodbye to binky was always tinged with insecurity. But since I believed he had to get rid of it I forced it and basically handed myself over a months worth of sleepless nights.

Do I regret using the binky to begin with? Yes, a little only because it’s causing such heartache for Jack now. Do I wish I had started sleep training early, without a binky? Of course, because I’d more likely be getting sleep now. But we can’t turn back time. We can only learn from the past, so if I ever have another kid I’ll know what I want to avoid. As it stands I’m still not sleeping well and neither is Jack.

So now I’m not sure what to do. Should I keep going with the Shuffle even after it’s done, even though we’ve only had marginal success with it? Should I give his binky back and continue with the Shuffle? Then, later, follow the books suggestions for getting rid of the binky? Should I bring the binky back but with a strict set of usage rules?

Something has to happen soon because I’m terribly tired and so is the kid. When I’m tired I get irritable and grouchy. The small amounts of patience I have dissolve into feelings of rage that I suppress until I’m about to explode. Something needs to change right now and if that involves giving the binky back would that be so awful?


9 responses to “What’s So Bad About A Binky?

  1. You know what I first thought when you posted about it being time to loose the Binky? I thought, what harm is it doing? I say trust yourself. You DO know Jack better than the doctor. And, it’s not like he’s got it in his mouth ALL day long.
    Yes, that’s my two cents despite The Sleep Lady recommendation:) I actually gave the book to a couple at a babyshower last weekend, and said that there are dozens of books on sleep. I happened to find it worked for us (after trying 3 other methods). So if it works, awesome. If not, there’s nothing wrong with you!

    • Thanks Holli! I’m tempted to give it back to him so we can sleep. I think for a second “what about all our progress?!” Then I wonder “what progress?” We actually haven’t made any, just taken steps backwards. So I’m leaning towards giving it back.

  2. You know, I had a binky for a long time, and then sucked my thumb till I was REALLY old (I am not going to say how old, but I remember it). Would my teeth be straighter without having done this? I suppose a bit, but they aren’t all that bad and I didn’t even get braces. Jack isn’t even all that old yet. Sure, I know nothing of parenting, but I think it is fine for him to have till he is more ready to give it up. You know way more about your son and the right timing for him than any doctor does.
    In the legend of Zelda, a wise turtle once said “sometimes retreat is the wisest strategy.” Perhaps this is true for this situation too?

  3. I hate to be the devils advocate, but I do think that it does mess with teeth….Riley is a perfect example. At 2 1/2 Riley had his first dentist appointment. The dentist asked him to smile while biting his teeth together and there was a huge gap where his binky fit. I was mortified!! We got rid of it right away. So yes….I think it definitely can affect teeth!!! Has he seen a dentist yet? You can probably even just tell by when he smiles if it is affecting his teeth. But I do also think that your sleep and his sleep are very important. More important! You are his mom, you get to decide and don’t let ANYONE give you grief about what you choose to do.

    • He’s come with me to the dentist, but hasn’t had an appointment yet. My dentist said they would see him before he was three if I really wanted it, but that it wasn’t necessary. My doctor claimed he had to go as soon as teeth started popping in. Again I think that comes down to knowing your kid.
      I’m sure it could affect his teeth, but at this point they look fine to me. I’m no dentist, but I don’t notice any big gaps or anything.

  4. Hey Staci-bear! I’m really sorry it hasn’t been as successful as you had hoped. But hey, you gave it a try. As others have said, and as you yourself said, you do know your child best. Better than ANY doctor ever will. I think perhaps the timing was just off maybe of starting this process. So whatever you decide to do next is going to be fine and whether it is back to binky, or continue with sleep shuffle, or a combo of both, regardless of outcome, you’re doing great and hey, you have to take chances and risks with things. So you “tried” listening to your doctor and giving it a shot. NO BIGGIE if it didn’t work as well as hoped. But hey, it could very well work fabulous months down the road. Jack will give you the signs I’m sure when it seems an appropriate time to try getting rid of the binky. And as others said, if his teeth look fine, and he only uses it until he falls asleep, I think that is totally ok.

    My question is, do you think giving it back to him will work right away? I mean will he wake up now that he has been doing sleep differently for the past two weeks? Or do you think he’ll revert right back to his awesome sleeping? Just curious.

    You’re an awesome Mom, doing so amazing with Jack. You are learning just as much, right along with Jack as he learns, so you both deserve a break 🙂 Love ya and keep us posted with what happens and how things go with the sleeping. I hope for both your sakes you recover and catch up on the much needed rest so you can be healthy and happy together.


  5. I love you Stackee. Do what is best for Jack, and be prepared for SOS calls from me when I finally make my own babies 🙂

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